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[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

And just like that, it was July. July.

I know what happened to June. I traveled 3 weeks on and off in June. I was actually looking forward to July, because hey, writing time, relaxing time July.

July is speeding me by like a Fiat on a state highway. I am learning a couple of interesting things about myself as I work on revising a book and writing a book and preparing to return to my full-time job. Maybe you'd like to know some of them? No. Stop reading.

Yes? Okay then. Buckle up that seat belt.

I have learned that unless I write new words each day, I get kind of cranky. I thought that working on editing or revising or the entirety of a process of writing a book would be the same dip into creativity as writing new words was, but no. What this seems to mean is that I need to spend some time each day working on new words and then some more time each day editing.

Oh ho! say the experienced writers among you. Did you not see this coming? We could have told you that!

I know. Intellectually, I even knew. That said, I didn't know know. Like so many things, until you have the experience, you don't get the experience. I'm getting it now.

I won't get all whiny about work and writing and editing and so on. I know so few writers who truly focus on their writing solo. My time advantage is I don't have children. Everything else, I got. Full-time job, commute, social stuff. A great marriage. But, and here's the thing, these things are what we all have to contend with. And plenty of you are writing books and balancing jobs and juggling several stories in the air at one time.

It's learning curve. I have to learn to do something new. I have to compartmentalize my brain and be okay with several works in progress in several stages of the writing process at the same time. I have to meet deadlines first, but not tap out my creativity.

You know, I had the submit/rejection/write thing down cold. I am an expert at it. Write a book. Keep that book circulating until you really don't have a likely venue to send it to anymore, meanwhile working on a new book. The new wrinkle in my life is that the old book is back, baybee. And it wants your love and attention again, which you want to give it. Someone else wants you to give it your love and attention, too. A couple of someone else's, whose interests are aligned with yours.Yeah. This is cool, but I am in an undiscovered country, so I'm feeling my way.

If I'm very lucky, this juggling is only going to get worse. What if Abby Rath Versus Blood Sucking Fiends were to be bought, while we're still editing The Vessel of Ra and writing The Pawn of Isis? What if, indeed? *preen* And what if Cats Curious sent me the electronic materials for Hulk Hercules, if I wanted to use it for my back list? Which they just did, although really, I think I need to do some revising first.

So, it's very easy to see how this could get a little busy. And yet, I only have so much time during the day. And yet, I want to make this work.

Should I even be writing this blog post? What about my braaaaaannnndddd????????? 😛

As I said, clearly I'm in a new place. It's a good place, but I'm learning the ropes. Let's check back when I've finished the revision and see if my brain is still in my cranium. I'm sure it will all work out. It's not like I've ever been in this endeavor alone.

Okay. Those dialogue tags aren't going to fix themselves.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

I’m a Wanderer

Well, I've been to 4th Street, and then I've been to San Francisco, and soon I'm going to Convergence. It's the traveling time of year!

4th Street was as good as it always is. I went this year in my photosensitive state, so pretty much stayed inside the hotel for the whole weekend. Lots of very think-y panels, made some new friends, hung out with some old friends, and had a great discussion about Shakespeare and Austen at Sunday breakfast.

San Francisco: Went out to visit some writer buddies. Saw a lot of people. Did a lot of things. Hung out with a foxhound. Karaoke, the Walt Disney Museum, Skywalker Ranch, and a tour of the graveyards of Colma. Yes, I was looking for the right Klaereon crypt. A good time was had by all.

You're going to have to wait on the whole Convergence thing. 🙂 It's coming.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

I have announced this lots of other places, but let's make it official here as well.

Today I signed a contract with Curiosity Quills Press to publish The Vessel of Ra. It's been a deal about a month and a half in the making. I am most appreciative of all the help rendered by my agent Mary C. Moore in negotiating this deal, and I am looking forward to working with Kathleen Kubasiak, my acquiring editor.

Curiosity Quills is a hybrid press which has been around since 2011. I feel like I'm on the cutting edge of an awesome publishing experiment. I am happy to have them be the home for this first Klaereon book, and hopefully more of them to come.

Many of you have been asking about pre-orders and so forth. You will have that information as soon as it is in my hands!

VERY excited. But you knew that.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Weird Juju

This was going to be my post about turning 51...but strange things have happened the last couple of days. One of them, kind of amusing and not serious. The other kind of aggravating and hopefully not problematic.

So, the birthday went off without a hitch. Ran around, did some walking, enjoyed a wonderful evening meal, finished getting all the books in the Pantheon folklore collection. All in all, a red letter day.

BUT the day before, I had been bitten by some buffalo gnats. Last year we discovered I was a little allergic to buffalo gnats, and so this year I had a bit of an infection. My birthday started with me going to urgent care to get some bug drugs. Now, I am allergic to penicillin. That, of course, had no effect regarding the prescription of a topical steroid, but how to attack the infection inside. The answer? Sulfa based drugs, which have a strange photochemical reaction in sunlight. So another part of my birthday day was spent with me buying scarves and Invisible Woman outfits. When you see me at 4th Street, you will see me as the person all wrapped up in hat, scarves and gloves until I get inside. I doubt very much I'll be doing too much leaving the hotel as well. Just think of me as your vampiric friend for the next 9 days. My last day of being photosensitive will be Sunday.

***

Then there's this thing. I went to buy Bryon an iPod on Thursday and our credit card was declined. We did all the calling and verified we made the purchase, but we got a call regarding my card and his card. Given that someone took our platinum Mastercard to Barcelona recently, we were a bit cranky. Well, not as cranky as we were after dinner yesterday, when his debit card was declined again. Why? Well, this time, his debit card went to Houston and spent about $2000.

We have cancelled all our Monday plans, as we must go into the bank and negotiate what this means in terms of fraud, getting our money back, getting new cards and all that. Last night, Bryon's soliloquy was why didn't anyone call us about Houston if they call us about Best Buy in Cedar Rapids? Now, this was actually a swiped clone of our card, so I guess they thought it was us, but we usually let people know whenever we're going anywhere else. Unfortunately, I guess we do not have a dedicated watch dog on our account.

This is pretty much gonna be a first world problem. In the worst case scenario (we are responsible for that money, and this isn't happening), it would set us back a bit until Friday, and I'd have a couple of bills I couldn't swoop in and pay all at once. But you know, I really, really wonder how safe our money is. We've had fraud twice on the Mastercard, once with the bank account, and several cards replaced because they may have been compromised. I'm thinking keeping my money under my mattress is the way to go.

Sigh.

So, how is 51 so far? Iiiiinnnnntteerrresting. And not in the best of ways.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Rejection! and Mo Ryan

A couple of things over at Unreliable Narrators:

Chris does an interview with Mo Ryan

My post on Rejection!

Guess who turns 51 on Friday? That'd be me, and there will be a post about that, here, next week.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Reviews 2016

Well, hey. I've added one more movie to the promised mix, as I went to see X-Men Apocalypse over the weekend. Before we get started, we had a bit of a conversation over at Unreliable Narrators about recent events in comics, especially the (yet again!) DC reboot and Captain America's recent controversy. Right here, folks.

***

So, in chronological order, 3 Marvel films. Under this cut, just in case you wish to avoid SPOILERS.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Cookies

Well, a review at Amazon from Darth Breather about Mosaics 2: An Anthology of Independent Women says something that means a lot to me about Cookies:

This feminist anthology is unusual in that it's a mix of stories, poems and essays. The fiction is every genre from literary to speculative to magical realism. The tone also changes from piece to piece - some are hopeful and positive, others contain dark matter. This anthology is for dipping into rather than reading through at one go. I found them all worthwhile - whether they're fun or force reflection. The darkest, perhaps, was Cookies by Catherine Schaff-Stump, a fictionalized but reality-based account of adult offspring of a terribly abusive childhood. (This story is particularly appropriate give the charity this anthology benefits. Kudos to the author for having the guts to put it out there, and to the Editors for getting it for this anthology.) The Mermaid Tale, on the other hand, is a triumphant tale of a woman sea-heroine, who lives the life she wants and wins her love, and The Lion and the Dragonslayer is another adventure story with a happy ending. I appreciated the essay on blindness, which really made me - as a sighted person - understand there are nuances I'd never even considered.

This anthology benefits the Pixel Project to End Violence Against Women.

Nope, it wasn't easy to write or rewrite. I appreciate your comments.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

I've written a post over at Unreliable Narrators: What Kind of Publishing is Right for Me? Querying Agents and Editors.

I think my next post here will be a comparison/contrast of Deadpool versus Captain America: Civil War, because now I've seen them both. Yup. Little late on the whole Deadpool thing.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

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